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Silex progresses laser enrichment technology

Manufacturing News

Laser enrichment technology company Global Laser Enrichment is considering accelerating the commercialisation of its Silex laser enrichment technology to take advantage of an emerging global nuclear fuel supply chain.

The company, owned by Silex Systems and Canada’s Cameco Corporation, are planning to build a facility in Kentucky to process and re-enrich over 200,000MtU of Department of Energy spent uranium tails to equivalent natural grade uranium hexafluoride (nUF6) product for sale in the commercial market.

Silex Systems said in an investor update that a ‘triple opportunity’ had emerged in the nuclear fuel supply chain. This was:

  • Production of natural grade uranium the form of UF6
  • Production low enriched uranium for existing nuclear power plants
  • And production of higher assay for next generation small modular reactor (SMR) power plants

The company said Silex and GLE were focused on the construction of full-scale laser and separator to be deployed in GLE’s test loop in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The first full scale laser system module has been completed at the Lucas Heights nuclear technology complex in Sydney and commissioned at Wilmington.

According to Silex: “GLE’s owners have been assessing the potential to accelerate its commercialisation timeline in order to leverage this triple opportunity.”

Silex believes that western nuclear fuel markets are undergoing a fundamental realignment over the next 12 to 24 months to be less dependent on, or free of reliance on Russian nuclear fuel suppliers.

“We believe this realignment could endure for decades, given that the renewed focus on long term energy security.”

Silex believes its technology is the only third-generation laser-based uranium enrichment technology known to be under commercial development.

“The Silex technology could become a major contributor to nuclear fuel production for the world’s current and future reactor fleet.”

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Picture: Silex Systems

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